Parenting – doing the hard work

Discipline is no fun.  It is no fun to hand out and no fun to receive.  And yet, we see time after time the results of young men and young women raised in a home without discipline.  Many parents opt out to just be their kid’s friends instead of their parents.  If they party, the parent ends up saying, “I made my fair share of mistakes too when I was young.”  If they are young and unruly and out of control (been in a restaurant lately with one of these near you?), they’ll say, “I don’t want to crush his spirit by coming down on him…”

You’ve seen this.  You know.  The inmates run the asylum.  It doesn’t work.  It does your kid no good to let them live a life where they don’t have rules, don’t have boundaries and are not accountable.

Read this from Dear Abby today…

“Dear Abby: I am a 15-year old girl who has never been in trouble, but my mom treats me like a criminal.  She makes me go to church every Sunday.  She makes me go to Catholic School, and I have to wear an ugly uniform.  She won’t help me with my homework.  She says, “I already did 10th grade.”  I can’t wear halter tops, short shorts, a bikini or much makeup.  If I tell her it is the style, she says, “Modesty is always in style”.

When I go out with my friends, she wants to know where I’m going, who I’ll be with, what we’ll be doing, when we’ll be back and their phone numbers.  If I have a date with a new boy, she makes him come into the house and tell her what school he goes to.  Then she makes him show her his driver’s license and car registration.

I can’t keep my computer in my room.  When I’m using it in the den, she looks over my shoulder and won’t let me go into chat rooms.  I have to set the table even if we don’t have company and sit down and have dinner with her EVERY night.

If I can’t afford something, she tells me to save up or budget better.  She won’t let me drive until I can pay for my own insurance.  It’s not like my mom’s poor – we travel to Hawaii and Lake Tahoe and we’ve been to Europe and on cruises.  But she won’t even pay for cable TV.  She says it is an idiot box and I should read a book instead.

She also makes me do my own laundry and keep my room and bathroom clean.  She makes me do unfair chores like cleaning the guest bathroom even though I never use it.  She wants to teach me to sew and cook, but I have no interest in those things.

She makes me visit dad every week, and i I complain about anything she says (very calmly and quietly, which I hate more than if she’d yell), “You can always go live with your father.”

She told me as long as I live under her roof, I have to abide by her rules even if I’m over 18.  And I have to go to college, and if I don’t, I’ll have to get a job and support myself.

I could go on and on.  Have you ever heard of  a mother so unreasonable?  I’m afraid to run away but I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”


Who knows if this is a “real” letter or if the Mom herself wrote it but it is striking.  Men…are you willing to do the hard work to raise your kids?  All of these things listed – the chores, the homework, the rules about dating, budgeting money, etc. are hard to follow through with.  Sometimes it is just easier to “give up” and let them eat pizza when they won’t eat what Mama cooked.  Sometimes it is just easier to let her go out with her friends and not do the investigating to make sure who she is hanging with.  Sometimes it is just easier to “do it myself” than train her/him how to do the chore.

But look at the power in this woman’s love and discipline for her daughter! 

Listen to Abby’s reply –

“Wow! your letter should be posted on every refrigerator in the country.  Rarely do I hear about a parent who tries as hard as your mom does to do a diligent job.  One day you will look back and thank her.”

Amen Abby!

This is part of the call to Live UP!  It is doing the hard things.  It is going to battle daily for our wives and our children.  It is caring enough to do the homework (and the hard work) to make sure your child is where they said they would be and to know exactly what they are doing.  It is calling your children up to a higher standard“No honey, I’m sorry none of your friends have to empty the dishwasher or clean the bathrooms – but your Mom works incredibly hard and I want you to pitch in to help her like I am doing simply because it is the right thing to do.”

It is a higher standard.  It is a better life.  It is equipping our children and training them up and giving them the skills and discipline they need to succeed in life.  The coddled and pampered child will not be able to cope the first time a professor or boss tells them to do something they don’t want to.  Part of the secret to life is doing the hard things.  The hard things make us strong and help us build our homes on rock.  The easy path makes us weak and builds our house on sand.

Live UP!


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